The ongoing global pandemic has dramatically changed the world. Traditional businesses, for instance, are having a hard time selling to customers overseas and in their country. A shift to e-commerce is necessary to survive these times of uncertainty.
The worldwide health crisis has also transformed the way people travel. Frontliners and other essential workers using public transportation have to follow measures imposed by the transit operators. This allows them to stay safe and minimize the likelihood of contracting the coronavirus.
The measures that public transport operators are implementing vary from one country to another. Here’s a look at what nations all across the globe are doing to keep commuters safe:
SMRT, public transport services provider, has strengthened its cleaning measures to give commuters peace of mind knowing that their journeys are safe. Since February of this year, the public transit operator has intensified its public hygiene and cleaning efforts of facilities and premises. Areas frequently touched by passengers, for instance, undergo disinfection every two hours.
Also, hand sanitizers continue to be available for the riding public at bus interchanges and all train stations. Commuters can find dispensers on various areas in a train station, including entrances, concourse areas, lifts and interchange access points.
Public transit operators across the nation have been ramping up their efforts to contain the contagious virus. Take New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) as an example. The country’s biggest transportation network has bolstered its 24/7 cleaning regimen. MTA cleaning crews, for instance, disinfect frequent commuter touchpoints, spot-clean seats and floors, and properly dispose of garbage and biohazards.
MTA has also piloted new technologies to make cleaning and disinfection more efficient. These technologies are the following:
- State-of-the-art Air Filters – The transit network is testing new air filters to determine if they could destroy microbes effectively.
- Antimicrobial Biostats – These materials produce a shield that inhibits the growth of microbes.
- Electrostatic Sprayers – This machine enables disinfectants and sanitizing solutions to wrap around and consistently coat surfaces to make cleaning more effective.
- UV Light – The transport operator uses this type of light to kill viruses.
The MTA has hired more cleaners to ramp up its public hygiene procedures. They clean during these times and in the following locations:
- Overnight in Terminal Stations – Cleaning staff comprehensively disinfect trains that run at night
- Overnight in Bus Depots and Yards – Buses and trains that run during the day but are stored in the yard or depot at night will undergo a thorough, nightly cleaning.
- Throughout the Day in Terminals – Commuters will find more cleaners disinfecting terminals and end-of-line stations during the day.
Early this year, the Transport for London (TfL) rolled out enhanced cleaning measures on its network. These include the following:
- Using a strong disinfectant to wipe down passenger touchpoints, such as doors and poles
- Frequent cleaning of key public transit interchanges
- Applying anti-viral disinfectants that offers protection for a maximum of 30 days
- Using cleaning agents (similar to the ones used in hospitals) to eliminate bacteria and viruses instantly
- Rolling out hand sanitisers across London’s transport network
On June 15, the government required the riding public to wear face coverings. This includes commuting on TfL and non-TfL public transportation networks. Those exempted from wearing a face mask include children below 11 years of age and individuals with breathing difficulties.
Public transportation inside the cities remains largely unaffected. Travelers staying in the country, however, should check the train status updates regularly. This will help them determine if the temporary coronavirus restrictions apply to the public transit service they plan to use.
As for public hygiene measures, transport operators in Japan are taking steps to keep the virus at bay. Tokyo Metro, one of the biggest rail firms in the country, is spraying a silver-based compound in nearly 3,000 train cars. The anti-microbial properties present in silver could fend off viruses from surfaces.
When operations end for the day, masked cleaning crews enter the trains and spray the agent on various surfaces, such as seats, straps and poles.
Many rail operators in the country are strengthening their efforts to minimize the transmission of the coronavirus. Adelaide Metro, a public transport system in South Australia, has increased its cleaning schedules. It also uses cleaning products recommended under the country’s national health guidelines.
On top of standard cleaning, additional cleaning crews are working hard to disinfect commonly touched surfaces, such as push buttons and handrails.
People who do not need to go out are encouraged to stay at home. If they do need to travel, however, they should adhere to health advice and follow the safety protocols established by transport operators in their countries.